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As The Knicks Rise, So Do Opinions Of RJ Barrett

For Duke fans, this has been really fun to watch

New York Knicks v Houston Rockets
HOUSTON, TX - MAY 2: RJ Barrett #9 of the New York Knicks smiles during the game against the Houston Rockets on May 2, 2021 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas. 
Photo by Troy Fields/NBAE via Getty Images

The New York Knicks are now 37-29 and while Julius Randle is getting a lot of praise, a big part of the reason the Knicks are improved and playoff-bound is the vastly improved play of former Blue Devil RJ Barrett.

There’s no question he’s improved and he’s improved because he’s committed to hard work. What’s really striking though is how perceptions of him have changed. It’s really pretty incredible.

Last season he was seen as a guy who couldn’t shoot and who, while solid, was probably drafted too high.

Now he’s seen as an indispensable part of the Knicks, a guy who no one wants to see traded anymore and a foundational part of New York’s future.

It’s quite a change. But the thing about Barrett is, much like Kobe Bryant, he’s all about working hard.

The Knicks are lucky in another way: New York has always been the team Barrett wanted to play for. Now that he’s emerging as a potential All-Star, he’ll help to draw more talent to the Big Apple and Madison Square Garden. Knicks fans, who were initially disappointed when they took him at #3 behind Duke teammate Zion Williamson and the sensational Ja Morant, have no doubt revised their opinion.